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"There was no way to think [I would win] because Marlee is such a fierce competitor," John tells Ellen. "I'm a huge proponent of her charity [The Starkey Hearing Foundation], but at the end of the day I was fighting just as hard for the kids of St. Jude ... It was just an absolute honor to even be competing with someone like Marlee Matlin."
The married father of one admits it wasn't always an easy environment to be in. "It was pretty venomous at times," he acknowledges. "There's a lot of great ladies that were over there. Part of my strategy was to not engage in craziness or drama, and to try to diffuse it if you can. I was the Project Manager when the Meatloaf meltdown happened."
What gave him the winning edge over some of his competitors, including NeNe Leakes, LaToya Jackson, Gary Busey and Star Jones, was reminding himself why he was on the show. "They were still fighting in the finale, but you're there for your charity," he notes. "At the end of the day we wound up raising $1.4 million."
The Texas native says he isn't through raising money for his favorite cause. "Eric Trump (son of Donald Trump) is on the board of St. Jude," John explains to The Boot. "We're immediately going to talk about an annual event that I can put on and make a goal of $1 million a year. Hopefully, that'll continue a long time. I have a song called 'For the Kids,' [and] 100% of the song goes to St. Jude."
John is hitting the road this summer with Big Kenny for a summer full of Big & Rich shows, including stops in Missouri, Pennsylvania and Canada. See their tour schedule here.